E2 Filing Options
As we work with clients around the world to set up or purchase business investments, we are faced more and more with the question of where an E2 Investor visa can be filed. In this article, we would like to clarify the processes for those looking to get started or already in the middle of investing.
E2 Investors and ESTA
Many citizens of the E2 treaty countries are also eligible to use the Electronic System for Travel Authorization, or ESTA. The ESTA program is available to those individuals who are part of the visa waiver program, and in completing an ESTA application, citizens from qualifying countries can visit the US without first securing a visa.
Please note that the ESTA is not a visa – this is important to understanding the E2 processes because while you are eligible to visit the United States under the ESTA, you are not eligible to apply for an adjustment of status to a different status while in the US under the ESTA program.
Those individuals who have a visa – meaning that you have a visa stamp in your passport – are eligible to file their case from inside the US. Because these individuals already have visa status, such as a B1/B2 visitor’s visa, they are eligible to change that status to a different one.
Those clients that are visiting the US with an ESTA under the visa waiver program will need to return to their home countries to have the application processed by a US Embassy.
Bearing that in mind, let’s go through the two filing options, starting with the US Embassy.
Processing an E2 Through the US Embassy
For most of our clients, their visa process ends with a visit to the US Embassy closest to them that processes E2 Investor Visas. Many clients will have been to the US for a visit where they were reviewing, setting up, or purchasing a business. Once this work is done, the application will need to be prepared for submission.
When filing with a US Embassy abroad, the processes will vary from Embassy to Embassy, but there are a number of commonalities that are shared:
- The case will be sent to the US Embassy in advance of the interview date – This is unique to the E2 process as most US Embassies require the documentation ahead of the interview date so it can be properly reviewed. In some instances, this will be an electronic submission, while in others it will be a hard copy submission.
- The US Embassy officer asks you direct questions about the business – By undergoing consular processing, you will have the opportunity to answer the questions posed by the officer. This gives you the chance to outline how your business is appropriate for the E2 investor visa.
- It is hard to predict wait times with the US Embassies – Once we file a case with the US Embassy, we enter into a waiting game as clients must make an appointment at the instruction of the local Embassy. Again, these processes will vary a little bit from Embassy to Embassy, but once the case is filed, candidates should anticipate anywhere from 3 – 6 weeks before they have an interview scheduled.
While there are certainly benefits to opting for this process, for many, filing for an E2 visa at the US Embassy is the only process.
Now, we can discuss the process for those who are in the US with a visa, and would like to change their status to an E2.
Adjusting Status to an E2 Visa
For those clients who are currently in the US or who have managed to secure another type of non-immigrant visa, such as a B1/B2, filing for an E2 classification without leaving the US may be possible.
For those individuals who have secured another visa via an Embassy visit (or port of entry stamp for Canadians and Mexicans), they can file paperwork with US Immigration and Citizenship Services here in the US and undergo what is called an adjustment of status.
By filing adjustment of status paperwork, we are asking US Immigration to change your classification of B visa (or current status) to E2. In requesting this adjustment, USCIS will review the same criteria as the US Embassy, meaning the investor must have made a substantial investment into a business and all of his or her funds must be committed to (spent on) the investment.
In filing here in the US, E2 Investors do have the option to request premium processing from USCIS. For a fee of $1,225, US Immigration will review the E2 application and provide a response within 15 calendar days. This response will be issued based solely on the evidence provided, and no interview is conducted.
Now that you have a bit of a clearer understanding on how we can file E2 visas, you can better plan your immigration to the US, especially if you are looking to enter prior to submitting your E2 application. Please give us a call today so we can provide you with a free consultation to discuss your options further.
US Immigration Law Offices of Chris M. Ingram
Chris M. Ingram LL.M., ESQ – Immigration Attorney
Admitted in New York.
Practice Specializing in US Immigration Law
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Tel: 310 496 4292
Everyday the Law Offices of Chris M. Ingram provides a comprehensive range of US Immigration expertise. We also provide a free consultation for our prospective clients.
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Specializing in the E2 Visa, EB1 Green Card, L-1A Visa and O1 Visa and K1 Visa Marriage-Based Immigration. Attorney Chris M. Ingram is dedicated to providing the very best in US Immigration legal representation. Enjoy our website.
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